Ericsson is set to launch a new standard dynamic range (SDR) to high dynamic range (HDR) conversion toolset at IBC. The toolset enables broadcasters to meet the complex requirements of delivering a consistent, high quality HDR live TV service.
The launch comes at a time when HDR content is limited, particularly for live TV services.
If an HDR live channel is transmitting a mix of HDR and SDR content (like SDR advertising, interstitials or news inserts) on an HDR TV in HDR mode, the SDR content will be incorrectly displayed and look very obviously wrong to the viewer.
Relying on the television to switch modes between HDR to SDR to HDR, in response to a transmitted signalling has significant quality risks, as the television may take time to switch, or fail to switch at all (if there is a missing or incorrect signal). This is especially risky with multiple SDR and HDR changeover points happening in rapid succession.
It is this uncertainty over switching which becomes an issue for the reputation of the HDR channel with consumers and also causes issues with the HDR content owners.
The newly launched Ericsson solution is introduced during encoding in the head end and uses a process known as inverse tone mapping (ITM), which rebalances the chroma and luma of the SDR content, so it can be shown back to back with HDR content, without any need for the HDR TV to switch.
Using Ericsson’s new ITM algorithm in the head end encoders, means HDR service providers have full control over displaying both SDR and HDR. This approach empowers services providers rather than relying on TV vendors and is less disruptive than having to deploy a completely new generation of third party set top boxes. This new solution enables a guaranteed enriched and immersive HDR visual experience that is compelling for the viewer.